Roll With the Train
I’m getting ready to shoot a new webseries in my Boston apartment, and things were going pretty well! Until I remembered something that should have been obvious from the beginning: I live right next to a train track. Speciﬁcally, next to the train station where the subway comes above the ground to cross the Charles River. I’ve been in this apartment long enough to sleep through the loud train noises that come every ten minutes or so. But viewers of my TV show aren’t quite so well-adjusted.
This was clearly going to be a sound problem. But on the bright side, I also live across the street from a hospital and a ﬁre station, so there are plenty of siren sounds too.
As I tried to ﬁgure out a solution to this, a friend of mine told me a story that put everything in perspective. In the mid 1960s, there was a young band called The Warlocks that frequently played in a crappy bar next to a railroad. The sound of trains interrupted their sets so frequently that rather than stop playing, they just incorporated the rhythm of the train into their music. This gave them a joyful shufﬂing sound that made all of their music sound like a drive down a delightfully bumpy road. Which worked out pretty well for them, except for the fact that another band had already taken the name “the Warlocks.” So they eventually had to change their name to the Grateful Dead. And believe it or not, I’m a fan of this band.
Life’s gonna throw all kinds of disadvantages at you, but you can’t stop everything. We all start doing creative things because we want to emulate somebody we looked up to at some point. But those people only get to where they are by being exactly who they are. Sometimes you just can’t avoid the train sounds. All you can do is make them your own.
Not About to Disagree with the Grateful Dead